Election Commission unveils plan to ensure free and fair elections

In a bid to tackle the formidable challenges posed by 4Ms: muscle, money, misinformation, and MCC violations, Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar has announced the Election Commission’s robust strategy for the upcoming Lok Sabha and state assembly elections.

| Updated: 16 March, 2024 4:06 pm IST

NEW DELHI: In a bid to tackle the formidable challenges posed by 4Ms: muscle, money, misinformation, and MCC violations, Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar has announced the Election Commission’s robust strategy for the upcoming Lok Sabha and state assembly elections. The ECI will announce the dates for the upcoming Lok Sabha Elections 2024 shortly.

With a staggering 97 crore eligible voters, the Commission is gearing up to conduct elections across over 12 lakh polling stations, with special provisions for those above 85 to vote from home and ensuring basic facilities like drinking water and toilets at every booth.

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Addressing the press conference to announce the election schedule, Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar emphasised the imperative to combat muscle power and ensure a peaceful electoral process. He outlined measures including adequate deployment of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF), establishment of 24×7 integrated control rooms in every district, and stringent enforcement of compliance measures such as executing pending non-bailable warrants and surveillance of history-sheeters.

Kumar underscored the importance of a network of check posts and the utilisation of drones to bolster security, particularly along international borders. He stressed, “No bloodbath should happen,” highlighting the Commission’s commitment to maintaining law and order during the electoral process.

With the tenure of the present Lok Sabha and several state assemblies set to conclude in June, the announcement of election dates assumes critical significance. “The upcoming polls are extremely crucial,” remarked Kumar, noting the high stakes for both the ruling BJP and the Opposition bloc INDIA.

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In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP secured a resounding victory with 303 seats, while the Congress managed 52 seats. Buoyed by their previous success, the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) remains confident about the forthcoming polls, aiming to replicate or even surpass their previous performance.

The timing of the election schedule announcement coincides with the recent appointments within the Election Commission. Following the resignation of Arun Goel and the retirement of Anup Chandra Pandey, the Commission welcomed two new Election Commissioners – Gyanesh Kumar and Sukhbir Singh Sandhu. These developments underscore the Commission’s readiness to navigate the complex electoral landscape and uphold the democratic principles enshrined in the Constitution.

As the nation braces itself for yet another electoral spectacle, all eyes are on the Election Commission to ensure a level playing field and uphold the sanctity of the democratic process. With the specter of the 4Ms looming large, the Commission’s proactive measures aim to safeguard the integrity of the electoral process and pave the way for free and fair elections.

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